Time to talk "turkey" with Thanksgiving safety tips
ROUND ROCK, Texas – The holiday season is upon us, with family get-togethers and lots of excitement. Before you get busy making plans to travel, or perhaps host others at your home, take the time to plan a safe time for everyone.
Are you traveling? Your home is probably "child-proof" but don’t assume that your relative’s or friend’s will be. They might have grown kids, or no kids at all, and don’t remember and recognize the dangers to little ones. Plan in advance and ask whether things like kitchen drawers or outlets will be child-proofed, and if toys with small parts belonging to older children will be accessible by your young child. A good idea might be to pack some of your own child-proofing tools and kid-safe toys. If you’re staying home, make sure your home is safe for others as well.
Don’t forget your medications. Don’t wait until you’re packed and pulling out of the driveway to be sure you have adequate prescriptions. Get refills and keep them in the original child-proof containers. Grandma’s purse might occupy a little one, but can also be dangerous if it has medications in it that a small child might put in his or her mouth. Put medications away and make sure kids don’t have access to purses or bags. In some cases, just one adult-strength medication tablet is a lethal dose for a child.
Keep food safety in check. It’s important to wash your hands regularly and encourage all family members and guests to do the same, especially before and after handling food, as well as after using the restroom. It’s important, also, to cook food thoroughly. Make sure hot food is kept hot and cold food is kept cold. Follow the guidelines and don’t allow prepared food to sit out too long. Cover and refrigerate or freeze leftovers properly. Also, make sure that if anyone has food allergies or sensitivities that meals are planned with that in mind.
Research emergency medical care. If you’re traveling, do your research and ask beforehand where the nearest emergency medical care is. If something happens, it helps to know where to get the best care.
Lock up poisons and the pool. Remember that children can climb up and open cabinets and drawers. Whether you’re visiting or hosting, make sure little ones do not have access to dangerous chemicals. And while you’re at it -- lock up the swimming pool. Just because it’s November doesn’t entice a child any less to check out the pool. It’s a good idea to always know where the kids are.
"There’s a lot going on during the holidays," says Dr. Rao. "Planning ahead can help keep the stress out of the holidays, and keep your family or guests out of the doctor’s office."
Sharon Rao, MD, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and obtained her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. Dr. Rao is a member of the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians. For more information, please call 512-509-0200.
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- Katherine Voss
November 22, 2013